…well, certainly not the mum that I think I am today. You see, even when I got married, having children and growing my family was not something that I ever really thought about. I was never a “children person”. In fact, I didn’t really like kids and even to this day, I absolutely adore my children, but there’s no going crazy about other people’s kids. I knew I’d one day have kids – afterall, this is the normal path that people follow – date, get married, have a child, have a second one etc., but it wasn’t something I couldn’t wait to start doing you know?! Then one day, I just got this feeling that I wanted a child of my own.
I recall a colleague at my first job telling me what a wonderful mum I’d make some day because I was so organised (she read me well even then 🙂 ) and I laughed it off. But two kids on and I’d like to think that I am a wonderful mum to my two boys.
When Ethan was born, I took the standard fully paid 4months maternity leave option because it was all that we could afford at the time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t even afford a day of unpaid leave 😦 The 4months passed very quickly though, and I remember coming back to work and people asking me if I was coping and whether it had been hard to come back. I felt like such a bad mum for saying that I was actually happy to come back. I felt like if I said it out loud, people would judge me, but reality is that I love being at work. I love the stimulation, I love interacting with the people I work with, I love that I can go to the toilet undisturbed in the office (hehe – kidding, OK…not kidding?!) but seriously, I feel that I am a better mum because of the work/home balance that I have in my life. I get to use my brain at work and do things that interest me (I’m more than a mother you know – I also have career aspirations 🙂 ) and when I’m home, I get to devote all my time to my kiddy winkles.
With Riley, we were slightly better off financially and so I opted for 6months maternity leave. I can say it now without feeling guilty but honestly, at the time, I felt horrid for feeling this way…after being at home for about 2months, I felt like I was ready to come back to work!!!! I felt like there was no way I could spend every day in the house and I needed the stimulation. Afterall, when you’re on maternity leave, nobody else is! It’s not like you can spend hours out with friends – they’re all at work, they can only meet you for an hour or so here and there – and let’s face it, money doesn’t grow on trees. After already having to cut back on the “extras” due to the 2months unpaid leave, there was no way I could afford to be going out every day for lunches, teas and the likes. And so while my very small baby slept for most of the day in those early days, not even DSTv kept me sufficiently entertained. At 4months, I decided to come back to work and life continued.
I’ve never wanted to be a stay at home mum. My two maternity stints clearly showed me that I wasn’t cut out to be one, and where the hubster would like me to do that especially once the kids start school, I just know that it wouldn’t suit me. But after Riley starting school mid-May and me picking the kids up every day after lunch to get him to settle in slowly, I’ve started thinking about how things could be different. I have thoroughly enjoyed picking the boys up. Seeing them during the day and hearing about their mornings, what they did, what they ate etc., has really made my day. So much so that it’s got me thinking about what I really want i.t.o. a work/home balance. No, I don’t want to be a stay at home mum, but I definitely feel the need to be with my kids more. I want to be involved in their school lives. I want to be able to attend sports days and awards and the like. I don’t want to miss out on a single thing (read: FOMO)! I’ve said before that I know that this is a problem for many other mothers and possibly even fathers, but it doesn’t mean that because other people “settle” or find other workarounds, that I need to.